Editor’s Note: The AHA Physician Alliance frames all resources and services within three fundamental values: Lead Well. Be Well. Care Well. Be Well focuses on physician well-being and below, three organizations share how they tackled burnout head on. For more resources on physician well-being, visit https://www.aha.org/advocacy/physician-leaders

Avera Health – Sioux Falls, S.D.
Preventive approach that involves care teams and spouses proves popular and becomes core piece of culture

LIGHT is Avera’s well-being program for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. It consists of three components: 
Coaching – free and confidential executive coaching.
Resources – smartphone app and web toolkit with resources, assessments and videos. 
Social activities – retreats for women, events for spouses, lunches with facilitated discussions on well-being and regularly scheduled time for caregivers to discuss the social and emotional issues related to caring for patients and families. 

Avera started small, piloting aspects of the program. However, it felt it was more important to begin versus waiting until a robust rollout was feasible. The program’s name is pulled from its core actions: Live healthy: physically, emotionally, professionally and spiritually; Improve resiliency skills; Grow personal and professional coaching; Heal work wounds and family struggles; Treat and restore to have an improved quality of life.

Learn more about Avera’s LIGHT program.

WellSpan York Hospital – York County, Pa.
Reconnecting clinicians to mission and each other

With retirement rates high and younger physician turnover rates rising, WellSpan made an existing wellness committee action-oriented to spearhead quick changes to tamper down the exit gates. Initial efforts included a change in communications to reflect clinical training, providing healthier food in lounges and creating social centers close to clinics and wards with exercise equipment, mediation areas, smart TVs and gaming spaces. New physicians were paired with a colleague to better connect to the community through recommendations for places of worship, schools and local restaurants. Creation of a Friday Night Movie event brought physicians with young children together for shared family time. Longer-term process changes included shifting the organization’s quality committee from administrator-driven reports to a quality and performance team leading quality improvement reviews led by physicians.

After initial physician feedback, WellSpan intentionally acted quickly to validate the issue and demonstrate the organization’s commitment to addressing burnout while planning for longer-term strategies. 

Learn more about Wellspan’s program.

University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System – Birmingham, Ala.
Data-informed strategies address burnout across the learner-faculty continuum 

Increasingly faculty reported unmanageable stress, which prompted the University of Alabama Birmingham to measure and better understand drivers of stress and burnout among both faculty and students. With data for a baseline, UAB began an awareness campaign to destigmatize burnout then streamlined well-being approaches and made grants available to residents and faculty with innovative ideas. One example that has been widely adopted is the resilience response team, which activates when adverse events happen to prevent the second victim effect on physicians. Data remains key as UAB has the long-term goal to use well-being alongside other performance metrics.

Learn more about UAB’s program.